Sum of the Signs

Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign = 30
Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign = ?
Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign = ?
Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign = 30
= 31 = 40 = ? = ?  

Each traffic sign stands for a number. Some of the sums of rows or columns are shown. What numbers might the signs stand for?

[Teacher: Press the F11 key and hide the remaining toolbar to show the whole of this grid if it doesn't fit on your screen]

A Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day

Topics: Starter | Algebra | Logic | Problem Solving | Puzzles | Simultaneous Equations

  • Mr. H, Mary Hare School
  • Chloe found a different solution.
  • The Best Maths Class Ever. 7cd/M2, King Alfred's College, Oxfordshire UK
  • Jack, Georgina and Patrick found the solution very quickly. Olivia found out that the top column was the same as the right side column. Some of us found it hard (including sir!!).
  • Year 9, Leicester
  • Very hard and dodgy answers!
    Maybe a good starter for older classes.
  • Transum,
  • Thanks for the comments above. They refer to the randomly generated puzzle which you can see by pressing the button below. The puzzle you see the first time you visit this page should be reasonable for a 10 to 14 year old to solve and has a unique solution. Let us know how it works for your students.
  • Apex Year5/6, Apex Primary
  • At Apex, our year5/6 class found is quite easy! but a good starter :).
  • Selina, Stanwell Fields
  • Easy for us 6 year 6.
  • Karris, Oxford University
  • Easy! The Class love it.
  • Mrs Webster, Brackenwood Junior School
  • On the whole Y4 enjoyed this task but some children found it quite tricky.
  • Mjd School, 6
  • This is cool for the year 6.
  • 8E, Friary
  • 8E at Friary School found this 'a bit easy'! Something a bit more challenging please!

    [Transum: Well done 8E. Did you scroll down the page and see the extension?]

How did you use this starter? Can you suggest how teachers could present or develop this resource? Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for Maths teachers anywhere in the world.
Click here to enter your comments.

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Note to teacher: Doing this activity once with a class helps students develop strategies. It is only when they do this activity a second time that they will have the opportunity to practise those strategies. That is when the learning is consolidated. Click the button above to regenerate another version of this starter from random numbers.

Your access to the majority of the Transum resources continues to be free but you can help support the continued growth of the website by doing your Amazon shopping using the links on this page. Below is an Amazon link. As an Amazon Associate I earn a small amount from qualifying purchases which helps pay for the upkeep of this website.

Educational Technology on Amazon


Online Maths Shop

Laptops In Lessons

Teacher, do your students have access to computers such as tablets, iPads or Laptops?  This page was really designed for projection on a whiteboard but if you really want the students to have access to it here is a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments:

However it would be better to assign one of the student interactive activities below.

Laptops In Lessons

Most of the picture sum puzzles shared on social media (including the one above) can be solved as linear equations. The following activity called Unbeknownst generates situations best solved using simultaneous equations. There are a number of different levels of difficulty and each level can be regenerated to produce a different puzzle. The link is here:

Student Activity


The answer to this puzzle is not 12. What is it?


Extension Answers

Beyond Extension

The following puzzle has been doing the rounds on Facebook. I have tried to find the source of this image but have been unsuccessful. If you know where it comes from please let me know. No copyright infringement is intended.

Little Man Puzzle


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